DO AGENTS HAVE A DUTY TO DISCLOSE A PROPERTY’S UNSAVOURY PAST?

In 2016 Rebecca Grace purchased a single-storey four-bedroom house in Sydney for $660,000. However, after purchasing the property she was informed by her mother that the former owner was the serial killer Ivan Milat. Milat also known as the ‘backpacker murder,’ hid his victim’s belongings in the roof and wall cavities, and is currently imprisoned for several life sentences. Ms Grace now wishes she knew the history of the house before purchasing the property.  This begs the question, are real estate agents obligated to disclose the past of ‘stigmatised’ properties?

 

In Queensland, there is no state law that explicitly provides that real estate agents must disclose to potential buyers the unsavoury history of a house, such as a violent crime or illegal drug activity. However, under federal Australian Consumer Law real estate agents must not engage in misleading or deceptive conduct. Silence may constitute misleading or deceptive conduct where in all the circumstances it is likely to mislead or deceive. Therefore, real estate agents are obligated to disclose information which may reasonably affect a buyer’s decision to purchase a property. Breach of this obligation may result in rescission of the contract, and damages against both the seller and the agent.

 

In 2004 two Sydney real estate agents were fined by the Office of Fair Trading for failing to disclose to prospective buyers that the former owner, Sef Gonzales, had murdered his mother, father and sister on the premises three years earlier. The buyers placed a deposit on the house for $80,000.00 before becoming aware of the property’s history. The agents were fined more than $20,000.00, the buyers were released from the contract and the deposit was returned.

 

Therefore agents should be proactive and ask themselves:

“Would an ordinary, reasonable buyer, knowing the facts, bid differently?”

 If the answer is yes then the information should be disclosed.  

 

For more information head to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/health-home-transport/real-estate#false-or-misleading-claims).

About ljgrealestate 据联大

Removing the Hassle from Sales and Rentals across South East Queensland. Aim to Empower other like minded Property Investors. L J Gilland Real Estate is a prestigious boutique agency specializing in Property Investment Management Services and the Sales of Investment Properties with tenants in place. Comprised of a top performing group of handpicked specialists, our Agents proudly serve Property Investors in Queensland. Since 1996 our Agency has demonstrated a genuine enjoyment of working with people, developing long-term relationships and delivering on the promise of great service. Carlos and Linda Debello offer property investor's the confidence to sell and lease in any market. We provide comprehensive market appraisals, exclusive multimedia marketing campaigns, and knowledgeable, highly personalized counsel on all aspects of real estate. Our Property Management Team is equally considerate, offering investors with in-depth advise, well-researched rental valuations, and highly professional rental management services. http://goanimate.com/movie/0M4bvcZzgIbI?utm_source=linkshare&uid=0u6RGtWsmlVc Carlos’ direct mobiles are 0400 833 800 & 0413560808. Linda’s mobiles are 0409995578 & 0414978700 (prefer email contact for Linda). Office 07 3263 6085. http://www.ljgrealestate.com.au http://www.yellowpages.com.au/qld/aspley/lj-gilland-real-estate-pty-ltd-14091356-listing.html http://au.linkedin.com/in/lindajanedebello http://twitter.com/GillandDebello http://www.facebook.com/pages/ljgrealestate
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